1st Edition

Families Bereaved by Alcohol or Drugs Research on Experiences, Coping and Support

Edited By Christine Valentine Copyright 2018
    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    210 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Individuals bereaved by the drug- or alcohol-related death of a family member represent a sizeable group worldwide. Families Bereaved by Alcohol or Drugs is the long-awaited result of an important and ambitious research project into the experiences commonly encountered by members of this stigmatized and vulnerable group.

    Based on focus groups with the practitioners and service personnel who support grieving relatives following the loss of a loved one to alcohol or drugs, as well as interviews with the largest qualitative sample of adults bereaved by substance use that has been reported to date, this much-needed contribution to research on addiction and bereavement identifies four major reasons why grief following this tragic kind of death is particularly difficult. By examining the experiences of a wide range of stakeholders, including practitioners and policymakers in health, social care and the criminal justice system, the research contained within this book underscores the large number of organizations that play a role in the implementation of official procedure following a drug- or alcohol-related death and identifies significant gaps in the system that bereaved individuals must negotiate.

    Grounded in extensive and rigorous academic research, Families Bereaved by Alcohol or Drugs is essential reading for academics, researchers and postgraduate students in the fields of mental health and addiction, social work and social studies, psychology, family studies and bereavement. The book should also be of interest to anyone with a professional interest in bereavement or substance use.

    Foreword (William Feigelman)

    Introduction (Christine Valentine and Linda Bauld)

    Part 1: Coping (Christine Valentine and Linda Bauld)

    1. Families Living with and Bereaved by Substance Use (Lorna Templeton and Richard Velleman)

    2. The Impact of a Substance-related Death (Allison Ford, Jennifer McKell, Lorna Templeton and Christine Valentine)

    3. Managing Stigma (Tony Walter and Allison Ford)

    4. Remembering a Life that Involved Substance Use (Christine Valentine and Lorna Templeton)

    5. The Diversity of Bereavement through Substance Use (Lorna Templeton, Jennifer McKell, Richard Velleman and Gordon Hay)

    Part 2: Support (Christine Valentine and Linda Bauld)

    6. Dealing with Substance-related Deaths (Jennifer McKell, Christine Valentine and Tony Walter)

    7. Improving the Responses of Services (Peter Cartwright, Lorna Templeton and Gordon Hay)

    8. Conclusion (Christine Valentine and Linda Bauld)


    Dr Christine Valentine is a Research Fellow and member of the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath. She is a founding member of the Association for the Study of Death and Society. Christine has published widely on the social and cultural shaping of bereavement in Britain and Japan, on funeral welfare systems for people on low income both nationally and internationally, and on funeral directing in the 21st century. She was the lead researcher for the ESRC-funded research on which the present book is based.

    ‘Surviving a death related to drug or alcohol abuse can be a particularly tragic experience. This book uniquely deals with the process of bereavement in these special circumstances, and unveils a world still unknown to many.’ - Professor Diego De Leo AO, DSc, Director, Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.

    ‘Any society that claims to be a caring one should recognise and respond compassionately to the doubly painful bereavement experiences that this group of researchers discuss. The story they tell is a moving one, but it is not always reassuring. It seems that we have been ignoring what is in fact a common problem – losing a loved one who had an alcohol or drug problem – and that those of us who meet such bereaved family members have not always been as caring as we should have been. There are important lessons to be learned here.’ - Jim Orford, Emeritus Professor of Clinical and Community Psychology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England.

    "Valentine, joined by eight other researchers and authors, offers a significant qualitative research study into the grief processes and bereavement needs of adults coping with a substance related death. Focused on populations in England and Scotland, the book will be useful to bereavement and research professionals in the USA and elsewhere since both commonalities and contrasts across cultures are illuminative." - ADEC Connects